I’m in a bind: I have come up with a Top Tip for writing, but I can’t implement it myself, except in the short term. Here it is: live alone. My husband is away on a two-week business trip; we’re halfway through, and this has given me time to revert to my natural sleep/wake cycle – wake at 5.30am, lights out at 10pm at the very latest – and so gets lots and lots of writing done in the early morning, when I am at my most productive. Of course I can’t wait until he gets home, but in the meantime, I am now writing two books.
Yes, two. There is “Plank 5” (formerly known as “Plank 6”), of course, and I had the luxury of a WHOLE DAY in the University Library yesterday, researching early nineteenth century cults (weirdos and wackos, to a man). And now there is “Susan in the City, best of”. For ten years – April 2016 to January 2017 – I wrote a weekly column, called “Susan in the City”, for our local newspaper, the Cambridge News. And then came budget cuts, and I was out on my ear. Lemons, lemonade and all that, and a writing friend (Debbie, that’s you) suggested that I could gather my favourite columns into a book. I suggested it to my (ex-)editor, and he agreed – and so I have been reading all six hundred (six hundred!) plus columns in order to select the eighty that I want to go down in history as the crème de la crème of Susan.
But I do need your help – it’s that blasted title. The column was “Susan in the City” and I probably need to retain that in order to attract the, oh, dozens of regular readers who will remember me. I was thinking of “Susan in the City: The Best of Ten Years of Writing for the Cambridge News” – but is that too clunky? I think I need to get the name of the newspaper in, for people who know it but not me. And it would be misleading to leave out “Best of”, in case people think they’re getting all six hundred columns. Ideas please!